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The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa Cutler ~ Guest Post + Review + Giveaway

Please welcome Melissa Cutler back to Sweet Spot Book Blog! She's here to talk about her latest holiday cowboy romance, The Mistletoe Effect! There's a giveaway at the bottom. Be sure to read Melissa's question and comment to enter. Good luck!

Cowboys for Christmas
By Melissa Cutler

If you’re one of the people that walks into a store in August and groans at the sight of Christmas displays, then I feel your pain. Doesn’t it seem like Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year, at least in the retail world? On the one hand, it’s only October and I’m still busy throwing together my kids’ Halloween costumes (my 11-year-old wants to be a devil and my 9-year-old is set on being a ninja this year). But let me fill you in on a little secret: I might have groaned at those store displays in August, but come the start of autumn, I’m more than ready for cold winter nights, hot cocoa, and Christmas songs.

Okay, you should probably be warned that I’m only imagining the cold winter nights because I live in San Diego, where the only way you can tell the difference between January and August is by whether you have to close the bedroom window at night due to the chill in the air. But the holiday season feels different. Christmas is about so much more than the weather. It’s a time to be with friends and family, a time of blessings counted and presents wrapped, and a time to pause and enjoy the many beautiful wonders of our world and our lives. With all that in mind, I created a winter wonderland, Texas style, for THE MISTLETOE EFFECT, my latest Christmas-themed cowboy romance, available starting today.

True, THE MISTLETOE EFFECT is a “marriage of convenience” story so sexy that it melts your e-reader, but it’s also a story about family and true love and finding the courage to go after your dreams. I guarantee that you’ll finish reading this fast-paced, short novel with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart and a smile on your lips.

So what’s this book about? THE MISTLETOE EFFECT tells the story of Carina Briscoe, a workaholic hotel heiress who’s roped into pretend marriage with the stable manager of her family’s Texas resort after the resort’s international claim to fame—the titular Mistletoe Effect—is threatened by the possibility of a jinx. The only way that stable manager James Decker will agree to the hoax is if Carina agrees to live with him as husband and wife until Christmas. Lucky for her, this isn’t a hardship because she’s had a crush on James Decker forever. The sparks between them start flying in chapter one and they don’t let up until the book is over.

And, to whet your appetite for The Mistletoe Effect, here’s a scene from the fake newlyweds’ wedding reception for you to enjoy…

His breath stuttered out of him, fanning over her neck and shoulder. His swaying faltered. Then he stopped pretending to dance altogether and searched her face with hungry eyes. When those eyes settled on her lips, she rose up, angling her head, her eyes closing, ready for that kiss he’d almost given her earlier, before they’d been interrupted.
His hands stroked her back and hips. His lips teased her cheek and nose. “You are a beautiful woman,” he said quietly. Beautiful wasn’t a word she often heard directed at her. Hearing it from James Decker’s lips sent a full-body tingle rippling through her. “And sexy. So damn sexy.”
He brushed a hand along her temple, cradling the side of her head in a way that told her that kiss she’d been longing for was on its way. “But it doesn’t matter how beautiful or sexy you are,” he said in a husky voice, his lips so close to hers she could sense their movement. “I’m still going to smash cake on your face during the cake-cutting ceremony.”
So much for that kiss. The closing notes of the dance sounded as her eyes flew open. She gave him a push along with her most chastising glare. “You would not.”
He chuckled. “I’ve always wanted to, but I figure that when I get married for real, my wife won’t allow me that honor. This is my one and only chance.”
It was sound logic. Juvenile, but sound.
With each wedding Carina had planned, the dreaded possibility of cake smashing hung around her neck like a yoke because, besides an unlimited host bar, that was the number one predictor of a reception devolving into chaos and destruction. Because who did that kind of thing, truly? Who was the kind of person to smash a messy dessert into the face of their beloved on the most important day of their lives? A troublemaker, that’s who.
And there was her answer, because Decker was all kinds of trouble, always had been, even if he’d been a gentleman tonight.
They were ushered to the cake table by the DJ, who handed Carina the knife. Decker reached out as though to set his hand over hers as she gripped the handle, but she figured since she was presently armed and dangerous, a mild threat was in order.
She brandished the blade at him. “Don’t you dare smash cake on me.”
Decker eyed the blade and held up his hands as though in surrender. “How are you going to stop me? With that dull knife?”
She gave it a swish. “Maybe.”
“I think stabbing the groom would be considered a Mistletoe Effect jinx, isn’t that right, Granny June?”
Granny snapped a photo of him with his arms raised. “You got that right, honey. Jinx prevention is serious business.”
Decker placed a hand over his heart in a show of sincerity. “Here that, Wife? I don’t want all your sacrifices tonight to be for naught.”
Carina narrowed her eyes at him. If she couldn’t get him to stand down, then it was time to fight fire with fire…

Want more?
The Mistletoe Effect is now available at all major e-retailers:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/T4FYVx
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1sHStH7


It’ll be a Christmas to remember when hotel heiress Carina Briscoe falls for cowboy James Decker, the bad boy stable manager of her family’s Texas resort, after they’re roped into pretending marriage. The marriage might be a sham but the sparks between them are anything but. Still, with a little help from the heroine’s interfering family, they might end up with the greatest Christmas gift of all: true love.

Four Stars

In this story the Briscoe Ranch Resort is THE wedding destination for couples planning a wedding. Why? It’s because of the Mistletoe Effect. This ranch resort holds a history of couples marrying there in December and who are still happy and going strong. The Briscoe family wholeheartedly believes in the Mistletoe Effect; however, all that is threatened when one wedding turns into a disaster. What’s a family to do to keep the Mistletoe Effect alive? Stage a faux wedding, of course, and hope no one notices.

Carina Briscoe and James Decker are the lucky two who are persuaded by her family to get married. Is this actually a blessing in disguise? These two have been admiring each other from afar for years. It took me a while to warm up to Carina. Let’s just say she’s fiercely loyal to her family and work that she keeps putting her true dreams on hold. Decker is just an overall dreamy cowboy sporting a black Stetson! He really just wants Carina to be happy, but all this “wedded bliss” comes with a time limit.

The thing with marriage of convenience stories is that they have to be pretty convincing to me. I actually thought the beginning of this story was a little over the top. The Briscoe family is very hard set in keeping up a happy image for the sake of the business. Yes, things go a little backward for Carina and Decker, but their romance was fun and made me smile. They even got a little kinky thanks to certain items in a certain basket of goodies! In the end I was convinced. Perhaps the way Melissa Cutler wrote this story and combined it with the spirit of Christmas is what made be believe. Plus, the comic relief from Granny June just made me giggle all over the place!

~ Author-hosted Giveaway ~

Melissa Cutler:  To me, there’s no better Christmas present than an Amazon gift card. So, to celebrate THE MISTLETOE EFFECT’s release, I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one commenter on this post. Giveaway ends Monday, October 13, 2014 11:59PM PST. To enter, answer this question:

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Good luck!

Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she's not globetrotting, she's enjoying Southern California's flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids. She loves hearing from readers at melissa@melissacutler.net, or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ) and Twitter (@m_cutler). Visit www.melissacutler.net to learn more about Melissa and her books and don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter: http://bit.ly/16mkpCs


  1. I have received so many wonderful gifts over my life time. It is hard to pick just one. If I have to choose just one, then it would be the beautiful watch I got for my 16th Christmas.. My oldest brother and I both got a watch for Christmas that year and mom made us open the presents at the same time. We each knew the other was getting this present, so when we opened the gifts we thought mom had put the wrong name on the gift tag.. Then we both laughed and hugged each other.

    1. Hi Kathleen, so nice to see you here. I love your story! Watches make such excellent gifts. I received a special watch when I graduated high school. I'll always treasure it.

  2. Wind chimes from my grandchildren.. They made it for me.

  3. My kindle fire, love to read.

    1. My first generation kindle died last month and I have yet to replace it. I've been using the kindle app on my phone, but I'm itching to replace my kindle. Can't decide between a fire and a paperwhite.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  4. The best gift was from my brother the year we adopted 2 girls. After 2 days of traveling my brother sent me and my husband to bed. He sang to the girls as he gave them a bath and then was up bright and early making a huge breakfast since he didn't know what they would eat. 10 years later it still brings me to tears thinking about his generous gift.

  5. My mother passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve 1990 ~ Naturally I did not want to celebrate the holidays but my siblings had little children who would not have understood everyone's grief. At the time I collected unicorns, I found wrapped, a unicorn snow globe ~ 24 years later, I still wind it up whenever I think of her.

  6. The best gift I ever received was a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy!

  7. I love holiday themed books and the Mistletoe Effect sounds delightful. Thanks for the teaser and your thoughts!

  8. One of my favorite gifts was a journal my husband kept of the time we were dating--he gave it to me when he proposed :)

    Thanks for the excerpt and intro to Mistletoe Effect! How fun, Melissa!

  9. Cute but I think I'd have a problem suspending disbelief. Although I wouldn't mind getting that Mistletoe Effect...

  10. I'm loving all the responses! Sentimental gifts are really special!

  11. I would say either my parents giving me a huge box of books

    1. Hi Book.Affectionist! Thanks for commenting. I sent you a message. :)